Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Historical Significance of ‘Ashura

Mu’awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan (ra) relates: I heard the Messenger of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) say:
"It is the day of ‘Ashura. Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) has not made fasting obligatory for you. But I am fasting. He who likes to observe fast among you should do so, and he who likes not to observe it (does not have to) observe it." [Sahih Muslim]

Abu Qatada (ra) relates that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) said that the fast on the 10th of Muharram atones for the sins of the preceding year. [Sahih Muslim]
Abu Huraira (ra) reports that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) said that after Ramadan, the fasts of Muharram have the greatest excellence. [Sahih Muslim]
Hakam ibn Al-Arat (ra) relates: I went to Ibn Abbas (ra)… I said to him: Tell me about fasting on ‘Ashura. He said, "When you seen the new moon of Muharram count the (days) and (begin to) observe fast on the 9th." I said to him: "Is it how the Holy Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) observed the fast?" He said, "Yes." [Sahih Muslim]
Hazrat Ibn Abbas (ra) relates that when the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) said: "If I survive till next year, I will definitely observe fast on the 9th of Muharram (as well)." [Sahih Muslim]
Note: What the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) meant was that he would also fast on the 9th as well as the 10th to which he was accustomed. We also should try fasting on the 9th and the 10th of Muharram.

Hazrat Ibn Abbas (ra) reports that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) arrived in Madinah and found the Jews observing fast on the day of ‘Ashura…

They said: "It is the day of great (significance) when Allah delivered Hazrat Musa ('Alaihis-Salaam) and his people and drowned Pharoah and his people, and Sayyidina Musa ('Alaihis-Salaam) observed fast out of gratitude. And we also observe it." The Holy Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) responded: "We have more right, and we have closer connection with Sayyidina Musa ('Alaihis-Salaam) than you have"; so Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) observed fast (on the day of ‘Ashura) and gave us orders to observe it. [Sahih Bukhari and Muslim]

is a 
Day of Great
Historical Significance!

On this day:

Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) accepted the repentance of Sayyidina Adam ('Alaihis-Salaam) after his exile from Paradise;
Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) saved Sayyidina Nuh ('Alaihis-Salaam) and his companions in the ark;
Allah extinguished the fire in which Sayyidina Ibrahim ('Alaihis-Salaam) was thrown by Nimrod; And Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) spoke directly to Sayyidina Musa ('Alaihis-Salaam) and gave him the Commandments.
On this same 10th of Muharram, Sayyidina Ayyub ('Alaihis-Salaam) was restored to health (from leprosy); Sayyidina Yusuf ('Alaihis-Salaam) was reunited with his father Ya’qub ('Alaihis-Salaam); Sayyidina Yunus ('Alaihis-Salaam) was taken out from the belly of the fish; and the sea was divided as the nation of israel was delivered from captivity and Pharoah’s army was destroyed. ‘Ashura is also the day when Sayyidina Dawud ('Alaihis-Salaam) was forgiven; the kingdom of Sulaiman ('Alaihis-Salaam) was restored; Sayyidina Isa ('Alaihis-Salaam) was raised to Jannah and Sayyidina al-Husayn (Radiyallahu 'anh) (the Holy Prophet’s, Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam, grandson) achieved the honor of Martyrdom.[1]
Whoever fasts on this day is like one who fasts all his life.
Whoever clothes a naked person Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) will release him from a painful punishment. He who visits a sick person, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) will grant him a reward that will not be decreased.
Whoever places his hand on an orphan’s head, or feeds a hungry person or gives water to a thirsty man, Allah will feed him a feast from Paradise and will quench his thirst with Salsabil (a wine that does not intoxicate). And who ever takes a Ghusl on this day will enjoy excellent health and freedom from sickness and indolence.
Whoever provides generously for his family on this day, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) will be generous to him throughout this year. And whoever applies Kuhl to his eyes will never suffer from eye-sore again, in Sha’Allah al-Aziz.[2]

[1] These are mentioned as what scholars have determined as the specialties of that day in Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq, Sayyidina Abdul Qadir al-Jilani.
[2] These specialties are  mentioned in Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq, Sayyidina Abdul Qadir al-Jilani.

The conventional meaning of Ashura in the Shariah refers to the 
10th of Muharram-ul-Haraam.

In his distinguished book, "Ghuniyatut Taalibeen", Sayyiduna Ghaus-ul-Azam, Sheikh Abdul Qaadir Jilani (radi Allahu anhu) writes that the Ulema have a difference of opinion, as to why this day is known as Ashura. Since the reason has been explained in various ways, the consensus of the majority of the Ulema is that it is known as Ashurah because it is the 10th day of Muharram, while certain Ulema say that from the sacred days that Almighty Allah blessed the Ummat-e-Muhammadi with, this day is the 10th most important day, and it is for this reason that it is known as Ashurah. (Ghuniyatut Taalibeen, Pg. 428)

Significant Events concerning Ashurah

With the exception of the Martyrdom of Sayyiduna Imam-e-Hussain (radi Allahu anhu) there are also various other incidents which occurred on Yaum-e-Ashurah.
It is also for those reasons that this day has received such excellence.
In his internationally renowned Kitaab, "Nuzhatul Majaalis", Sayyiduna Sheikh Abdur Rahman Safoori (radi Allahu anhu) explains the following important events which took place on Yaum-e-Ashurah:

1. It was on this day that the Skies earth and the Lauw-e-Qalam came into existence.
2. It was on this day that Sayyiduna Adam (alaihis salaam) and Sayyiduna Hawa were created.
3. Sayyiduna Adam's (alaihis salaam) Tauba was accepted.
4. Sayyiduna Nooh's (alaihis salaam) Ark came on land.
5. Sayyiduna Ibrahim (alaihis salaam) received the status of Khaleelullah.
6. Sayyiduna Yaqub (alaihis salaam) met Sayyiduna Yusuf (alaihis salaam) after 40 years.
7. Sayyiduna Idrees (alaihis salaam) was raised into the skies.
8. Sayyiduna Ayub (alaihis salaam) regained his health.
9. Sayyiduna Yunus (alaihis salaam) was released from the stomach of the fish.
10. Sayyiduna Dawud's (alaihis salaam) Tauba was accepted.
11. Sayyiduna Sulaiman (alaihis salaam) received his Kingdom.
12. Sayyiduna Esa (alaihis salaam) was raised into the skies.
13. Sayyiduna Muhammad Mustapha (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) made Nikah to Sayyiduna Bibi Khadija (radi Allahu anha).
14. It is on this day that Qiyamat will occur.

[Nuzhatul Majaalis]



According to the Kitaab, "Thareek-ul-Khulafa", ten miraculous events were recorded about the time of the Shahaadah of Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu).

These events were also included on pages 46 and 47 of the Kitaab, "Karamaat-e-Sahaba", by Molvi Ashraf Ali of Thana Bhavan.

It is stated in "Thareek-ul-Khulafa" by Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti (radi Allahu anhu) that, "When Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) was martyred, for seven days the following conditions prevailed on earth:

1. When the sun rose each day, there was a constant shroud of redness covering the earth as if the sun's rays came out in the form of a lifeless blanket.
2. There was a continuous scene of stars colliding with each other in the skies.
3. His martyrdom took place on the 10th of Muharram 60 A.H. and on this day there was a total eclipse of the sun.
4. From about six months prior to his martyrdom, a strange redness enveloped the horizon of the skies, which gradually disappeared, and such a phenomenon was never witnessed again.
5. On the day of his martyrdom, beneath every stone in Baitul Muqaddas, there appeared fresh blood.
6. Grass and straw that was used in the oppressor's army (i.e. Yazid's army) had all suddenly turned to burnt out ashes.
7. The oppressor's army had slaughtered a female camel to feed the soldiers. From the meat of this slaughtered animal, sparks of fire began to fly all the time.
8. When the meat of the slaughtered camel was cooked, it turned out to be bitter and poisonous.
9. One person who spoke ill about Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) was punished by Almighty Allah in such a way that he was hit by two falling stars from the sky which diminished his power of sight progressively.
10. Regarding the conditions of these days (of martyrdom), Sayyiduna Abu Na'eem (radi Allahu anhu) states in his Kitaab, "Dala'il", that Sayyiduna Umme Salma (radi Allahu anha) narrated that when Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) was martyred, the Jinns were heard to wail and weep openly in expression of their grief."

[Thareek-ul-Khulafa] (also see: Karamaat-e-Sahaba)

Eve of 10th Muharram:

That night, Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) requested the 72 followers to leave his camp and seek refuge in a safe place.

But, his dedicated followers refused to desert him. He then ordered that the tents be tied together and a trench be dug and filled with wood and set on fire when the battle begins. The Muslims spent the night in prayer.

Battle of Karbala: It was the morning of the 10th of Muharram 61 A.H. Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu's) followers put on sweet scent, their best clothes and took leave and blessings from the womenfolk. The women were told that they were in the sole care of Almighty Allah and that they should patiently bear all the hardships and trials in store for them. They were not to mourn. The Muslims had gone without water or food for 3 days. They did not have a drop to drink. Nor did they partake in a morsel of food.

Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu), sitting on his horse, addressed the army of Shimr appealing for their sense of justice and recognize the pious family that he was from. He said: "O People! Listen to me. Do not be rash. Let me admonish you. Let me say a few words in my justification and let me explain the reason of my arrival here. If my excuse is reasonable and if you can accept it, do justice in my case. You would be lucky if you desist from taking arms against me. After hearing me, and you refuse to agree with me, I will be ready for you. Whatever the outcome I repose confidence in Allah who supports righteous men."

Ibn Saad's army was ready for war. Hur realised this. He was undecided about which side to be. Finally he said: "By Allah, I have selected Jannah irrespective of the consequences. I do not care whether I am killed and my body is shred into pieces or I am burnt alive." Saying this, he joined the side of Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu). Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) forgave Hur. He was eventually made Shaheed.

The battle began. The 17 year old, Sayyiduna Ali Akbar (radi Allahu anhu), whose looks resembled that of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), rushed towards the enemy. He fought bravely, beheading hundreds until he was made Shaheed by Marra bin Manqaz who plunged a spear through his back. Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) buried his son.

Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) then heard the 6 months old Sayyiduna Ali Asghar (radi Allahu anhu) crying for water. He took the child in his hands and appealed to the enemy to allow the child to drink some water. Instead, Hurmila bin Kaahil, took aim and shot an arrow that pierced the infants throat. Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) held up his son towards the sky and said: "O Allah, this is the only one Ali Asghar. If there were a hundred like him, I would sacrifice them all, one by one, in Your Path. If this is Your Will, then Husain is satisfied." He then buried Sayyiduna Ali Asghar (radi Allahu anhu) next to his elder brother, Sayyiduna Ali Akbar (radi Allahu anhu).

The small band of Muslims fought bravely and one by one were made Shaheed. Sayyiduna Jafer bin Aqeel, Sayyiduna Abdur Rahman bin Aqeel, Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Hasan, Sayyiduna Imam Hasanul Mussana, Sayyiduna Qasim bin Hasan, Sayyiduna Amr bin Hasan, Sayyiduna Abu Baqr bin Hasan, and others (radi Allahu anhumul ajma'in) were made Shaheed.

Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) fought bravely and killed 410 enemy soldiers. As he was about to drink water, an arrow struck his mouth. Then, arrows rained down upon him. An arrow was shot in his forehead, the place where Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) was kissed by Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). Another arrow pierced his neck. He was wounded from head to foot and lay on the ground. It was time for Asar Salaah, so he said to his attackers: "Just give me a few minutes to finish my Asar Salaah as I have not yet missed a single Salaah in my life, and I do not want to appear before Almighty Allah without finishing my Salaah. After that you may do as you please."

While in Sajdah, Sinan bin Anas struck off Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu's) blessed head. He was only 56 years old. His body had sustained 33 spear wounds, 24 sword wounds and countless arrows. His blessed head was then carried to Yazid in Damascus accompanied by the women and children.

After Karbala:
The news of the Shahaadah of Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) shocked the Muslim world. Madinatul Munawwarah revolted against Yazid, but the inhabitants and remaining Sahaba were massacred. For 3 days, the Umayyad soldiers brought destruction to Madinatul Munawwarah and even attacked the Holy Kaaba.

Lessons of Karbala:
The Shahaadah of Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) at Karbala provided a moral victory of virtue over vice. It was a triumph of good over evil. It continues to serve as a beacon light for all strugglers of truth and righteousness. Sayyiduna Imam Husain (radi Allahu anhu) fought to establish the laws of Almighty Allah on earth and not to submit to the corrupt government of Yazid which brought about un-Islamic practises. Karbala teaches us to endure hardships and remain calm in the face of the most difficult trials.


The martyrdom of Imam Hussain actually means the death of Yazid, as every such karbala leads to the revival of Islam!